Thursday, August 17, 2017

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Erdogan's Jail - A Residency For Journalists

Mick Hall writing @ Organized Rage demands that Turkey:

    Free human rights workers wrongly imprisoned in Recep Tayyip Erdogan jails.






Amnesty International urged the British government to end its silence over Turkey’s slide into authoritarian rule on Tuesday after its local director and five other activists were remanded in custody on accusations of belonging to a terrorist organisation. It is possible the six will now be held in jail for as long as two years before their full trial comes to court.

Idil Eser, local director of the London-based organisation, was one of a group of activists including a German and a Swedish national detained on 5 July while attending a routine workshop on digital security and information management near Istanbul.

Turkey’s state prosecutor had asked the court on Monday to remand all 10 in custody pending trial on charges of membership of a terrorist organisation. Six were retained in jail to give the prosecution time to assemble full charges. Four others were released.


John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International director of Europe and central Asia, said:

Too many western governments have been locked in a fatal embrace with the Turkish government at the moment it slides into an authoritarian direction. Everyone knows this is happening in Turkey, and it needs to be said. These arrests represent a red line, and must be the moment when the terms of engagement with Turkey are reset.

Kate Allen, the director of Amnesty UK, said:

We are grateful for the work the British government have done behind the scenes. But a moment of truth has arrived. It should stand up in public to say this is an abuse that will not be tolerated.

Dalhuisen said the charges, including membership of a terrorist organisation, were absurd since the director was being accused of being a member of three diametrically opposed terrorist organisations. He said the meeting at which the group had been initially arrested concerned the most mundane issues of digital security training and working in an hostile environment. The first day’s course included a yoga session, he said.

Dalhuisen said:

This case is taking place in front of a hounding by the media and an entirely compliant prosecutor and judicial system. These arrests are an attack on Turkish civil society and this is now obvious to all of Turkey’s international partners.

None of them have done anything wrong. Taner has been wrongly accused of membership of the Fethullah Gülen 'Terrorist' Organization,”, while İdil and the others have been imprisoned on the unfounded suspicion of committing a crime in the name of a terrorist organization: both ridiculous and baseless accusations. Another four activists have been released on bail, but are still being investigated.

The six human rights defenders remanded in custody and joining Amnesty’s Taner Kılıç behind bars are İdil Eser (Amnesty International), Günal Kurşun and Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), Özlem Dalkıran (Citizens’ Assembly), Ali Gharavi (IT strategy consultant) and Peter Steudtner (non-violence and wellbeing trainer).

The four human rights defenders charged but released on bail are Nalan Erkem (Citizens Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women's Coalition), Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association) and Şeyhmus Özbekli (Rights Initiative.

Free Amnesty Turkey's Taner Kılıç, Idil Eser and nine others. You can sign Amnesty's letter here here.


  • Main source Amnesty.

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